Port Authority Honcho Gunning for World Trade Center Bully Job?

World Trade Center Site

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When Port Authority executive director Chris Ward presented Governor Paterson with his report on the sorry state of World Trade Center reconstruction last week, he proposed the appointment of a “traffic cop” to ride herd on the many agencies and companies involved in the project. Just whom might he be thinking of for the gig? “I get the feeling Ward recommended Ward, like Dick Cheney heading the vice-presidential selection committee,” says a downtown community watchdog who regularly works with the Port Authority. Ward, a longtime development official who holds a master’s in theology from Harvard, might just see himself as the perfect savior for the project, if he was just given the power to do so. Others echoed the idea, citing Ward’s experience with construction, his credibility with bureaucracy and unions, and general likeability. “I’ve now met him several times, and on each occasion, I’m more impressed,” says a manager who’s been working in the pit since 2002. “He will get this done, if anyone can.” Indeed, his scathing report may have been his opening gambit. “Every couple of
years,” says someone close to a downtown developer, “everyone gets scared, and we move forward.” A PA spokesperson didn’t return calls. — Alec Appelbaum